A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about parents stressing over what to name their baby. The article discusses parents-to-be hiring numerologists and consultants to help them choose a name, and talks about naming a baby as an act of marketing and branding. Thus you have an ad exec and author of eight books on baby names saying, “We live in a marketing-oriented society…. People who understand branding know that when you pick the right name, you’re giving your child a head start.” The best part of the article by far is about how two people who work in marketing approached the problem.
As one of the founders of Catchword, a corporate naming firm with offices in New York and Oakland, Calif., Burt Alper says he and his wife, Jennifer, who also works in marketing, felt “tons of pressure” to come up with something grabby.
Although Mr. Alper typically gives clients a list of 2,000 names to mull over, he says he kept the list of baby names to 500, for simplicity.
I understand the anxiety. Misty and I spent some time debating what to call our two children. But, really, people, settle down. There are too many stressors when dealing with pregnancy to add avoidable ones. There are a couple of rules to remember. One: whatever you name your kid, other children will make fun of them. Two: the history or meaning of the name won’t change how others react to your child. When someone meets young Chloe, they won’t think, “Huh, that name is derived from the Greek and has verdant connotations,” or, “Oh, she’s named for her great-aunt Chloe.” They’ll think, “I knew a Chloe once, in college. I hated her.” And there’s nothing you can do about it.
So relax. Pick a short list of names. Think them over. Your child will grow into whatever name you give them, until it seems perfectly right and natural. Oh, and run your names through this interactive name explorer that shows how popular names are in the US based on Social Security data. Not because it’ll necessarily help you, but because the explorer is cool to play with.